April’s Learning Resources
Taking Action in the World
Expanding from our own communities to the world at large, we consider what matters most to us, the issues that we care about, and how we define ways to help ease the suffering of others and bring happiness. We examine three essential questions: “What do I care most about?” “Who do I care most about?” and “What am I going to do about it?”
LEARNING RESOURCES & ACTIVITIES ✨
- Discuss: What injustices in the world am I most passionate about eradicating? What issues matter most to me? (Social justice, environmental justice, human well-being, etc.) What actions am I currently engaging in that bring benefit to the world? What actions am I currently engaging in that could be contributing to harmful results in the world? How do I feel about the way my resources (time, finances, etc.) impact my ability to contribute? How do I practice generosity, and how can I expand on my current practices? What are actionable steps I could take to bring me closer to this goal of “Taking Action in the World”?
- Read: Let’s Stand Up Together by Bhikkhu Bodhi (lionsroar.com)
- Watch: We need to talk about an injustice | Bryan Stevenson (ted.com)
- Namchak Blog: The Four Boundless Qualities AKA The Four Immeasurables by Lama Tsomo
- Lama Tsomo’s book recommendation: Fight: How Gen Z Is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America by John Della Volpe* From Lama Tsomo: “Della Volpe isn’t of Gen Z himself, but has been talking with youth all across the country for many years. He sees a difference in this generation that has been just coming of age when faced with Parkland, the attempted coup of Jan. 6, white supremacy, the opioid epidemic, the economy, political, and education systems failing them, and impending environmental collapse. In short, they’re inheriting a world that’s falling apart at the seams. They are under terrible stress from a situation not of their own making, and yet they’re fighting for a better world. The fact that he’s not of that generation but listening to a broad swath of those who are is very helpful to me. He’s bringing me what I want to hear: what’s on their minds and hearts; what they’re doing about all of the above.”
- Podcast: The Upside of Apocalypse | Lama Rod Owens (Ten Percent Happier Podcast with Dan Harris, tenpercent.com)
* Namchak Foundation and Lama Tsomo do not receive any monetary or other benefit from the purchase of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication.
MEDITATION INSPIRATION ☸️
Three-minute Meditation for Tuning into Your Heart/Mind Tap into the deep intention for developing true connection with ourselves and the vast ocean. Through our hearts we can feel our shared relation and deep interconnectedness. 💗
One Community Activities
💫 Opening, Community Commitments, Check-Ins (15-20 min)
- Invite a moment of silence and give rise to Bodhicitta.
- Read Community Commitments.
- What issues, challenges, or sufferings in the world right now are weighing on your heart?
🌎 Introduce & Frame the Theme (5-10 min)
- Taking Action in the World: We will be exploring this theme tonight, while also acknowledging these times, how much suffering & challenge is in the world right now that you all spoke of in your check-ins, and how much our compassionate action is being called for.
- From our newsletter this month: When we see and feel the reality of our interconnectedness with all beings, the possibilities for making a positive impact on the world become endless. Our choices and actions have ripple effects far beyond our immediate reach.We can begin by examining our intentions to ensure that our goal is to ease the suffering of others. Once our intention is clear, we can find ways to manifest that intention in our daily actions.
- The following is a social post from Akaya Windwood, former head of the Rockwood Leadership Institute, that Joshua shared:
- “There is a quickening, an awakening going on – I can feel it in my bones. I liken it to a powerful wave whose time it is to rise up and come to shore.Land Back, Black Lives Matter, Farmworkers Union, Pride, ERA, EPA, ADA, UBI – so many movements over so many years. These individual rivers are converging, so now would be a good time to hone our swimming skills, get our rafts/boats/canoes/kayaks in good working order, gather our people(s), and prepare to share our resources, because we’ll need to ride this momentous wave together.Gather your goodwill, trust, fierceness, commitment, wisdom, love, and fortitude. Get out the fiddles, dancing shoes, drums, beads, and paints. Grab the spades, rakes, seeds, gloves, and watering cans. Dust off the camp stove, shake out the raincoats, find your swim fins, and we’ll probably need some matches.We have everything we need, so bring your brave and tender heart, and I’ll meet you on the River.”
- Take a few moments to reflect on the impact you experience after hearing/reading this. You are welcome to reflect in your journal with a few words, draw an image, express the impact with a body movement or gesture, or share some words aloud with your Circle.
📽️ Introduce & Watch Video with Joanna Macy (10 min)
- Joanna Macy PH.D, Author & Teacher, is a scholar of Buddhism, Systems thinking and deep ecology. A respected voice in movements for peace, justice, and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with learnings from six decades of activism.
- “Of all the dangers we face, from climate chaos to nuclear war, none is so great as the deadening of our response.” – Joanna Macy
- We will watch a short video of Joanna sharing a Tibetan Buddhist prophecy for these times called “The Shambhala Prophecy.”
- You’re welcome to jot down any notes while you are watching.
📝 Journal and Discuss (5-10 min)
- Take a few minutes to write down any impact you experienced from watching this video, anything that stood out to you, anything that resonated, etc.
- Open up the Circle for discussing your responses.
✍️ More Journaling (5 min)
- Take 5 minutes to explore the prompts below in your journal.
- What is your bodhisattva call to action right now?
- What issues are you called to help transform? What suffering are you called to help alleviate?
- As you engage in compassionate action – in whatever way is meaningful for you – how can you bring your inner practice into your outer action? What might it look and feel like, and how is this different from traditional ways of taking action in the world?
👥 Partner Activity (10-15 min)
- Move into breakout rooms with one other person to discuss your responses to the journal prompts.
✨Group Share (5-10 min)
- Invite people to share any highlights from their breakout sessions.
🧘🏽♂️ Group Meditation/Guided Contemplation on Interconnectedness (12 min)
- The is not a specific Namchak meditation, but it helps us explore the theme of interconnectedness, so we may continue cultivating compassion and this wisdom of knowing our true interconnected nature.
- She will guide you to lay down in this meditation, and you are welcome to do that or remain seated.
- The Web: A Guided Meditation Words by Joanna Macy, spoken by Sally MacKinnon
🌱 Closing - Read Aloud This Poem and Share Impact (2 min)
- “Clearing” by Martha Postlethwaite
Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself to this world
so worthy of rescue.
- Take a moment to soak in the impact of these words. Maybe share a few words about how you are feeling right now in the chat or aloud to your Circle members.
🙏 Dedicate the merit (1 min)
“By the power of this compassionate practice,
may suffering be transformed into peace.
May the hearts of all beings be open,
and their wisdom radiate from within.”
Modern life brings unprecedented stressors, from personal challenges to global ones like climate change. Shamata helps us expand our mental awareness of the causes of stress, allowing us to cultivate a greater sense of calm in our lives and find the joy that is always available.
Practicing Inclusion + Nonviolent Communication
Treating people of all backgrounds and identities with fairness and respect is an ongoing journey for most of us, including our team at Namchak. We share our experience with the practice of nonviolent communication, which teaches us how to listen deeply to our own needs as well as those of others, helping us connect to our innate compassion.
Our personal practice isn’t just for our own benefit but for others, too. We dive into the meaning of work, consider our gifts, and examine work as an environment to practice being in community and contributing to the greater good.
There is no going it alone. We live our lives with others, part of interconnected communities, known as “Sangha” in Tibetan Buddhist practice. We explore the ways we can cultivate awareness within ourselves and grow as we engage with those around us, ultimately living happier and more meaningful lives and contributing to the same for others.